20th April 2010 El Rocio to Tarifa

20 04 2010

Neither of us had a brilliant nights sleep and we were both up pretty early as well. Lorna went out to get some bread and came back complaining about the miserable woman who served her, by 10am we were on the road heading for Cadiz. The journey to Cadiz took us around the perimeter of Seville which, from what we saw from the motorway looked like a fairly nice city, too big for us though. From there we headed further south and along the N IV which took us through some beautiful landscapes toward Jerez, rolling hills and solar panel fields were the order of the day but unfortunately there was nowhere to pull in along the road to photograph them, most disappointing. From Jerez we went through El Puerto de Santa Maria which was a massive port area with containers everywhere and then into Cadiz itself.

Cadiz was much much bigger that I had visions of. We drove into the centre along the main road in which was a bit hairy to say the least, dual carriageway, no central reservation, cars parked either side, mad people on scooters with no helmets and lots of traffic lights. We drove slowly and carefully! We were headed for somewhere in town where there might have been a place for us to park and even stay the night, the sat nav (programmed to take us to one of the FurgoVW wild camping spots) took us right through the port, past a huge Disney cruise ship which was moored there, and then right to a peninsula at the end of the port. Lovely location but probably a bit isolated at night. We turned around and I decided to drive along the sea front, typically the road was a cobbled street and we bounced along it for a good while, passing some amazing buildings and a huge church with a domed tiled roof. It looked beautiful but there was nowhere to park at all. I then programmed the sat nav for another FurgoVW site just outside of the town which was right on the side of a main road, far too noisy to stop the night but great for a lunch stop. We had a sandwich and decided to carry on south and try to find somewhere to stop the night.

The south of Spain appears to present a much bigger challenge to the wild camper without any previous information. We headed down the coast toward Conil de la Frontera and when there we headed toward the beaches but failed to reach them thanks to narrow streets and height restrictions. We then headed to El Palmar and made it onto the beach road which fronted a majestic golden sanded beach with the stunning deep blue sea behind, a really nice place to be. However there were signs saying that motorhomes would be towed away. Despite this we spoke to two German couples who had parked up right by the signs, asking if they were stopping the night. They seemed quite happy to flout the ban on motorhomes and they just shrugged when we asked about the Police. Bit of a strange attitude I thought, especially as they faced fines if they were caught. We moved on to have a look at Cabo de Trafalgar, a lighthouse further down the coast but this was jam packed with cars the owners of which were kite surfing on the beach. I had difficulty turning around to get back out. Next on the list was Barbate, a nice little seaside resort which also offered little in the way of parking, more signs saying no motorhomes were evedent here.

It was starting to get late, it was pushing on for 5.45pm by this time and we had been driving for the majority of the day. We started looking at campsites in the vicinity and then started heading for Tarifa where there were a few but we had also been told that wild camping was possible there, though there were conflicting stories, some said it was ok, others that people had been moved on. The drive along the N340 took us through a massive wind farm that was fully operational at the time we went through it, there must have been over 100 windmills there, all turning around at speed as the wind whipped through the valley, buffeting the motorhome from side to side as we drove along. We spotted a camping site and turned into the road, there was also a sign for a beach so I decided to go and have a look there first. There were motorhomes there but when I spoke to a French guy he said not to park overnight as the Police had been fining people there. He directed us to another beach about 5pm which I decided to go and have a look at, almost doggedly determined to find a wild camping spot by this time. I couldn’t find the beach he mentioned so we drove into Tarifa and spotted some motorhomes parked up. We headed there straight away and after arriving I checked with a French couple who said it was no problem to stay there.

So, 9 hours and 330km from leaving El Rocio and we finally found a place to wild camp (N36•01’26 W005•36’59), right on a stunning beach, just in time to see the sun get lower in the skies, casting some lovely light on the huge expanse of sand. Job done.

Tarifa Beach

Plan is to have a rest day tomorrow and then get up early and go to Gibraltar the day after.

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2 responses

22 04 2010
David Turner

Brilliant photo, Steve

7 04 2011
Russia

It’s very exiting to find this stevegreenphotography.wordpress.com website. You sure can write and teach and inspire. Keep writing – I’ll keep reading.

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